It’s important to get your body ready for a round of golf. It’s equally critical to warm up mentally before teeing off. An ill-prepared mind can quickly undermine an in-tune swing.
Parts of the physical and mental warmups go hand in hand, as time spent on the driving range and practice green should be devoted to both elements. Here are a few tips for getting into the proper frame of mind:
- Take care of business and leave it behind: Conducting or even thinking about business on the course is hugely distracting. If you’re so busy you can’t set aside a few hours for non-work activity, then stay at the office. Otherwise, shut down the cell phone and forget about tomorrow’s meeting. For now, golf is the only item on your agenda.
- Don’t rush: Zipping out of the house or office, speeding to the course and leaving skid marks on your way to the first tee spells doom. Arrange your schedule to arrive at the course with ample time to check in, get your gear ready, hit some range balls and putts, then saunter to the first tee.
- Practice visualization: On the range, don’t hit random clubs to loosen up. Approach each ball like you will on the course, visualizing the desired result and utilizing your pre-shot routine. To that end, rehearse specific shots you’ll face – the day’s opening drive or a difficult approach, for instance – and play them one at a time. Do the same thing while putting and chipping.
- Choose a goal to focus on: Think of something you want to accomplish on every single swing, like maintaining your spine angle or making a full shoulder turn. This can be your swing key for the day, something to assess after each shot. Don’t pick a goal that’s results-oriented, like a target score for the full round or a series of holes. Your focus should be on process, not outcome.